Donegal farmer pays record sum for 'once in a lifetime' lamb

By Elaine Mitchell

Image caption,
The Suffolk superlamb has "nice hair"

A lamb has been sold at a County Antrim livestock mart for more than £13,000.

The pedigree Suffolk ram lamb was bought by Seamus Brown of Letterkenny, County Donegal, who will use it for breeding.

It was sold by a well-known breeder, Gary Beacom from Fivemiletown, at the Ballymena Livestock annual Premier Suffolk Show and Sale.

Mr Brown said he was delighted with his purchase, which was a snip at 13,000 guineas, or £13,650 in 'new money'.

"You only get an opportunity to buy a lamb as good as this one once in a lifetime and when the opportunity arises you must be brave and go for it," he said.

'This guy has it all'

"He is so correct that I can use him to breed with all my ewes, where maybe other lambs might have minor faults and you'd have to choose the ewes carefully.

"But this guy has it all - nice hair, good character, good top line, good colours, good mouth. I can't find any faults with him.

"He has so much presence he makes a statement when he stands up there."

The sale was a record price for Ballymena mart and, Seamus said, Northern Ireland too.

Image caption,
The lamb was sold for 13,000 guineas at Ballymena Livestock Market

"This is a big record for Northern Ireland and most countries really."

Seller Gary Beacom also held the previous Northern Ireland record of 6,000 guineas (£6,300) for a sheep sold in 2004.

Irish breeder

"I never dreamt that we would break our own record. I was delighted to see the lamb being purchased by an Irish breeder, as I love to see the genetics staying local," Mr Beacom said.

Despite being one of the most expensive lambs ever sold in Northern Ireland, Mr Brown said his new sheep would not get any special treatment.

"This lamb will be fed the same as the rest. The lamb is in the shed with the ewes at the moment," he said.

Vicious Sid

Suffolk sheep are one of the most popular breeds in Northern Ireland.

The Ballymena lamb may have sold for the price of a family car, but sheep in other parts of the UK have reached Ferrari prices.

In 2014, a Texel ram named Vicious Sid from Perthshire, Scotland, sold for £152,000, and in 2009, a Texel ram named Deveronvale Perfection from Banffshire, Scotland, sold for the remarkable sum of £231,000.

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